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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
• • • • •
What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
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I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
Who Am I? 2. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. and using. that is finding career direction. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. How Do I Get Hired? 1. development. defenses. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . and reinvention. Exploring Your Talents First of all. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. What Do I Want to Do? 3. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. is a journey. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. Once unmasked.firstly asking you to explore your talents. growth. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed. and stresses of everyday life. In fact.
Tip: If you're having problems choosing. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. While no personality type is good or bad. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. One trick is to turn things around. however considering the importance of what you're doing. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. Rank these in order. and as you identify possible careers. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. Influence. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. Personality Inventories Next. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. DISC (Dominance. That said. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. and avoid the things that . Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money.
After all. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. In psychological terms. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. The talents you achieve most with. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. and your way of seeing the world. and you'll probably underachieve. 2. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. You choose to react one way over another. and this gives you little information. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are.8 frustrate and demotivate you. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. Tip: When you're doing this. and where others didn't. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. many different people could perform well in these situations. The activities you get most satisfaction from. or to prefer one thing to another. your beliefs. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. .after all. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure.
Once you've done this. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. . Because of this. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company.self-directed-search. and can only cope with the major career types.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better. extend out and brainstorm the other options available. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types.com iii. who may be much younger than you.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. nor do they know about less well-known careers. Useful ones are: Free. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing..com http://www. On the other hand. a radical career change may be the best thing. ii. Using the test results as a starting point. industry and profession.. they can't recommend new careers. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed.9 i. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue.assessment. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data.
Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. Career research is not something many people relish. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. who the major players in it are. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. We're not asking you to choose one now. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. if you're having trouble prioritizing.10 iv. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. Understanding where organizations are based. qualifications needed. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. etc. • • • • • • • • • . Pulling This Together. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. job pay levels. job availability. this is quite tedious. and perhaps to move. and what the issues and problems within it are. v. Attending professional and trade shows. Also. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. Yes. Visiting company websites. Participating in job fairs. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. so that you can understand industry trends. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you.org. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. Volunteering. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press.
Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. you may have rejected several possible careers. faster. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. 3.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. • These are your short term goals. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. the better the job . What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. in order to get there. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. a job that sounds really glamorous. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. or a whole host of other distractions. now you need to actually map your progress.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose.
Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. You are suffering from stress or depression. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. the career that you are meant for will materialize. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. You are feeling unappreciated. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking.12 that you'll be able to choose. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. whatever the industry or the job title. Likewise. For example. You know when you are in a job you like. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. The effort however. You are no longer having fun. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. Learning is replaced with routine. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. if you’re a science person. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. artistic people would be .
and status. intellectual. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. precise. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. and reserved. 2. or which demands a lot of number crunching. but may not be good with people. and machines. those that need interaction with other people. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. . Value scientific endeavors. persistent. or enjoy working with objects. Common traits: • Analytical.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. In a perfect world. tools. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. practical. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. curious. Avoid "social" activities. Avoid activities that seem mundane. Common traits: • Hard-headed. Value concrete and tangible things like . However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. power. and genuine.money. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. materialistic. commercial or "enterprising". Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. inflexible. pessimistic. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. but often lack leadership skills.
Common traits: • Idealistic. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. Value aesthetics. complicated . but may lack scientific ability. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. reproducing materials. patient. optimistic. great leaders and speakers. and exhibitionistic. adventurous. and organizing written or numerical data. and cooperative. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. Value social activities. impractical and nonconformist. sociable. understanding and able to teach others. record keeping. training. sensitive. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. tactful. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. Common traits: • Extroverted. introspective. persuasive. 5. filing. Value political and economic achievement. Common traits: • Generous. and enjoy using materials to create art. Conventional (C): 6. Conventional people . developing. popular. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. emphatic. 4.14 3. curing and enlightening others. ambitious.
15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. Common traits: • Efficient. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. inflexible. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. . and ideas. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. data. practical. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. For example. and methodical. Value business and economic achievement. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. ESA). things. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. defensive. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. conscientious. This gives their Holland's code (for example. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them.
There are many of these. and so on. Here again. "How would my spouse. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. (If so. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. For instance. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. To find your ideal career according to this approach. one costs US$9. not who we really are. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. family. use our complete process. just complete steps i and ii below. These are more Artistic responsibilities. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. One strategy to deal with this is to . you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. However.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. To shape your job. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. entertainment. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. ask yourself. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways.
Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. and set realistic goals to change things. and do well. . you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. time limited goal. Likewise. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. In particular. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. and set the goals that will lead you there. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. If you're thinking about your career. look at our Life Plan Workbook.
has a particular flair for graphic design. and you can start whenever you want. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. you can play to your strengths. so that you can generate better results. Stephen. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". By subtly redesigning your job like this. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. they've both been really good performers. Her successor. at least to some extent. though. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. Overall. improving both satisfaction and performance. follow these steps: 1. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. 2. Practically any job can be crafted. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. So. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. adjust and continue. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. Rebecca. or using your knowledge to change working methods. using skills that you already have. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. Decide what you want to change. Act to put positive change in place.18 The previous post-holder. 4. however. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. Check on progress. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. In short. did a great job. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. 3.) .
or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. or more interaction with people from other departments. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. but the overall impact may well be negative. your supervisor or manager. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. For example. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system.19 • Relationships: Here. In our example. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. If this isn't the case. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. For more on this. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . more effective workforce. For example. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. or a boost to your own self-esteem. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. go back to Step 1. you should take into account your clients. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. Here. and the organization as a whole. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. your colleagues. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. For example.
. and you decide to make the necessary changes. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. within your recrafted job. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. as mentioned in Step 2. and you feel good about what's happening. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. if you have any managerial responsibilities. When you have a number of other people to supervise. By refocusing your job in this way. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". In job crafting. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. managerial input or approval before you start. 2 and 3 above. If everything checks out. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work.20 Also. After all. check that it gives you what you want. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. in itself. or expect. nothing will come of it. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. But don't wait for. you can let your changes become a habit. And of course. lead to career enhancement opportunities.
you may uncover some interesting ideas. and then. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. you put the changes into practice. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. in order to change aspects of your current job. so that it suits you better. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. you look for a win-win solution. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. you make sure they become a habit. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. increasing enjoyment. having checked they're having a positive effect.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. and so find out what might also work for you. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1.
Toyota and Mars. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. Get and remain tech-savvy. your kit may need to adapt as well. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. specialization is no longer the route of choice. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. If you're early in your career.) When you work for this kind of company. Along with technical skills. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. skills and experience. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. Develop cross-functional skills. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. as your own circumstances change. Monitor and track your progress. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. To maximize your chances of success. however.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. innovation. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. If you're in a highly technical field of work. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. It can pay off for some. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. . And remember. Otherwise. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. do it. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. or in addition to. Develop your competencies. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. what you are doing now. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. Leadership. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. it is critically important to continue your professional development. communication. And yes. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. A broad range of competencies.
These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. • • • • • Track your duties. Learning another language. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. When you have a ready list of things you have done. Note your volunteer work. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. Join professional networking associations. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. Employers want to know what you will do for them. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. • • • • Collect business cards. List the training you've completed.23 "Think global. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. No one can accurately predict the future. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. Scan the environment. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. Build and maintain a professional network. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. Create and maintain a success journal. however stay ahead of the crowd . Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. Your co-workers. your profession and the industry you are in. The more experience you get. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance." In many industries. When you add a mentor or two to your network. projects and results.
however. and choosing to work in industries . See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. this will not be the case. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. even if it means a job. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. you can take control of your future career . Back your hunches and analysis with action. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. To learn more about resiliency. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. This will lead to frustration. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. boredom and. It is better to prepare now. For many. failure to achieve your potential. Develop realistic and achievable goals.or career-change. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide.24 by keeping yourself informed. and development may be blocked. in the long term. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. however hard you work.that have long-term sustainability. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall.if you're good at what you do. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. Keep a clear career path open. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. With some forethought and planning.and for employers . You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . Develop resilience. Because the future is uncertain. you will eventually have to leave.
So.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams.25 today. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. Sure. In this article. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. you can show initiative. you've got some useful skills. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. This is something you feel passionate about. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. But you currently have no management experience. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game.even if they are not directly related to your current job. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . Volunteer This may come as a surprise. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . What can you do? Well. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. for many people. You've always wanted to work in management. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications.
and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. or reimburse you for outside classes. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. The important thing is to see your name in print. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. then consider volunteering for community organizations. Many nonprofits .26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. in the long term. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. These skills are highly valued in the business world. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. project management. you won't get paid for it). you could make the transition to full-time journalist. You're a good writer. if you really want to make a career change. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. . depending on the new company or position. marketing. As well as learning new skills. fundraising. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. budgeting. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. Well. When it's time to apply for that management position. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. and the good impression you'll make. and more. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. The company might offer training seminars. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. and to build up your portfolio. as a volunteer. then applying for a related position. Eventually. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. You can write a few articles in your spare time. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. Although you may not see immediate results. However. writing. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. And. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles.
marketing. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. or on weekends. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). which may have only one lecture on building relationships.than a traditional school.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. you can often complete a qualification in less time . you may have to use your vacation time. business management. . You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building.27 However. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. you attend class at the time and place of your choice . This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. personnel development.on your lunch hour. in the evenings. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). Instead of a traditional management class.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. For example. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program.and at a much lower cost . This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. For example. With distance learning. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. accounting and finance. if you want to become a medical doctor. workshops might offer several different lectures. often use lectures from several different experts . then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. each exploring a different area of relationship building. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. And. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. and so on. Executive-level workshops. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. Skills like project management. for example). If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. however.
4. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. This will strengthen your qualifications. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense. to choose one's way. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. our article on Finding Career Direction could help.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. 3. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. If you're still not sure. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . Apply This to Your Life 1. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. Where possible. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. – Viktor Frankl. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. If that's not practical.. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. 2. Consider where your next career move will be..
a boss who is too . In your personal life. Dislike. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. But at work. as well as your productivity.. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. but it's even more important for you to do so. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. compassion. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. no matter what the situation is. and work well under pressure. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. or unable to move forward in some way. So. feelings of joy. when a customer snaps at you unfairly.. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. After all. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. staff layoffs. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. As the above quote shows. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. Disappointment/unhappiness. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. Worry/nervousness. excitement. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. You know. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. and department changes. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. Anger/aggravation. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. After all. if management is forced into making more layoffs. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. how can you become better at handling your emotions. you're always free to choose how you react to it. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well.
For more on this. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. and nothing else. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. Whatever the reason. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. Or. then breathe out slowly for five seconds.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. just move on. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. if your boss is late for your meeting. you could use this time to relax a little. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. and this can impact not only your mental health. Do this at least five times. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. and your willingness to take risks at work. such as anger. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. that probably won't help you keep your job. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. and that isn't good for anyone. Write it down. and be specific. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. Instead. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. • • . Focus on your breathing. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. then you have more time to prepare. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. but also your productivity. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. For instance. and look at the situation. if you allow it. But this worry can easily get out of control. and you sit there and worry. which means they're not doing anything for you right now.
' and then schedule a time to deal with them. no matter what. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. knowing that you'll deal with them. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. For instance. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. Stopping your anger early is key. it gives you some perspective on the situation. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. it can dent your self-confidence. you can forget about these worries. Remember. Also. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. you can choose how you react in a situation. If you start to get angry. When you're worried and nervous about something. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. This interrupts your angry thoughts. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. so learn to recognize them when they begin. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. But it's important to be professional. imagine how you would look. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. Before that time. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management.
start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. negative emotions can spread. Remember.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. that doesn't mean you should as well. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. you might be afraid to take another risk. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. and calmly leave the situation. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. ups and downs. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. . delay the deadline. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. If they did. Remember. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. your energy will probably be low. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. as you would treat anyone else. After all.') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. Keep the goal. you always have the power to change your situation. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. set the example. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. but make a small change – for example.
the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. and which types of feelings you face most often. then.and that may move you forward too. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be.it means doing more of the RIGHT things.seemingly lessdeserving people . Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. When those emotions begin to appear.33 Know what causes your negative emotions.in your pursuit of a promotion. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. But going beyond what's expected. If I promote you. your value to the company is your efficiency. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. Organizations move forward by solving problems. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . Now. and that you're ready to take on new ones. remember . If you're busy working away. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. The longer you wait. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . why should I promote you? Clearly. You may even do your job exceptionally well. Why is it. Think about it.
Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. and make sure you acquire these. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. Get up-to-date. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. to learn and practice other skills. managers are given responsibility for something. Think about cost versus benefit. Also. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. If your exposure is broader. You'll expand your range of experience. To gain access to them. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. gain experience in other areas of the company. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. review bottom-line results. For example. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. When you have questions for your boss. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. perhaps by reading the industry press.to similar positions in different departments . Increase Your Responsibility Typically.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. and make a plan to acquire those skills. Then.it's a win-win! . Expand your skill set. This involves working well as part of a team. come prepared with solutions as well. and you'll make your boss's job easier . look for opportunities to lead projects. while also demonstrating individual competence. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. For example. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities.34 You may even want to make lateral moves . and stay current in your field. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in.
the better. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. When you run into obstacles. and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. Look for things that aren't being done at all.it's often adding something of value as well. you'll probably end up disappointed. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. The more you learn from other people's experiences. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. Take note of who your internal competition might be . Find out what they did to get where they are. Evaluate your strengths. How can you do something cheaper. think how you can improve them . and who might champion your ideas.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . Understand the big picture. . A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. Look for a mentor within the organization. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. even if you aren't sure of the response. Set your goal. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. Having someone to talk to. always think about how to do things better.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. Rather than accept things as they are. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. Put forward your ideas.others in your company who may want the same position you want . find ways to work around them. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. faster. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss. is a great benefit.
Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. and then proactively work to achieve it. If you aren't ready yet. take on more of the right responsibilities. and even being the best at what you do. To prepare for promotion. Simply doing what's expected of you. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. and communicate your promotion goals to others. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. are not guarantees of advancement. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. As you execute your promotion plan. Understand what drives your company's success. Network with people in the company. increase your value to the organization. That won't guarantee a promotion. though. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. expand your skill set. Using your knowledge of the organization. Get the Recognition You Deserve . Let people know what you want. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. you can create the path to the position that you want. By being proactive.
But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. it would seem odd. you might forget something important that you've done. Be sure to make yourself look good. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company.and to top it all off. That includes you. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. hard check doesn't always communicate that. people often just want simple praise. or a cold. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. you wish. Believe it or not. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. and you don't point it out to him or her. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. because everyone wants something different. and never show up late . and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. certificates.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. you would. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. Beside each one. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. Why? Firstly. so decide what type you want. Unfortunately. So. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. . or bonuses. never miss deadlines. there is a way to do this. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. You'd think that by doing all of this. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. There are many types of recognition. Then. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. and as a result. However. but also share credit where credit is due. at least once in a while. if you're a bit nervous.
Before you get upset. If you have something good to say.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. • . As you talk. For example. You know your boss and your business environment. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. If you appear insincere.in a private area. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. In your work environment. not-too-obvious way. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. If this feels a little too much like bragging. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. however. Keep the focus off yourself. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. then do it carefully and tactfully . and you may look bad. If you tell your boss directly. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. Keep it genuine and honest. and you don't even realize it. For example. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. then say it. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. If so. then people may notice. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored.he or she may be praising you. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. Yes. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. You can also praise others in front of your boss.
and they're not working for the government. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. and send copies to your boss. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. If so. If you're a team leader. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. send them emails praising their efforts. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others.and to do that. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . they're likely to be older than 50. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better.or even one job . If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. your boss has to know what you've already done. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. When you recognize the efforts of your team. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too.in their lives. If you notice co-workers doing something great. sending emails about small accomplishments. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks.
and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. and the chance to do something new. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful.the "fear" of losing your job . So. never making the break to search for something better. another one opens. and your people skills. however. For more information. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. willingness to adapt to change. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. downsizing. contracting. If you're a good worker with marketable skills. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. • • . Next.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. So. develop your nontechnical skills as well. think "outside the box. and leadership). It can be an adventure. the technical skills you need can change quickly. be prepared.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. recession and even natural disaster. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. outsourcing. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. and use this site to build solid career skills.40 pension. team management. Here. In today's job market." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. As a result of globalization. and keeping stress away. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. your organizational skills (time management. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. These days. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . because you'll know you've done all you can. the world is much different. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. but you can control how you look at it. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First." What else can you do . We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. Your home life. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries.
Look for lateral transfers within your company. This can create negativity and hurt morale. Take outside classes and read trade publications. Start learning about other departments. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. and office organization can help you anywhere . But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. so that you know what's going on in your field. Be PROactive instead of REactive. Help another team member who's falling behind. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. have an open discussion. you ALWAYS have control. make sure you give value to your company. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). Skills like effective time management. and it's within your power to change it. So. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. Also. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company." then take control and act.no matter what job you're doing. leadership techniques. allow everyone to voice their fears. you keep him or her informed of your value. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. if you don't tell her. but don't let these fears dominate the group. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. to a different department or even a different branch. or what you're capable of doing. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. It's your life. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. and you were forced to eliminate one position. Remember. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). By talking about your accomplishments. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. .
even if it's not the right match. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. Key Points In today's business world. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. And save some money.the job. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. If you wait until the last minute. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . living with job insecurity is a reality for many. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. if you are laid off. When your résumé is current. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. Remember. If you do get laid off. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon). This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. exciting path. Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. and put yourself onto a new. remember that the world is full of opportunities.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . not on doubt and uncertainty. your life is what you make of it! . you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. Focus on the positive. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. if work dries up in your area. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job.or losing .
your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. but then skip directly to acceptance. After all. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. Sure. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. the more you know. it finally happened. simply because more stress is involved. 2. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. 3. Denial. or in the same time frame. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. You might skip a stage. Also. and think about what you can do to cope with each one. Depression 5. Let's look at the stages in more detail. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. • Stage One: Denial . These are: 1. Acceptance. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. Bargaining 4. Anger. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now.
This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. use anger management techniques. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. . This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. or seek counseling. After all. if you've worked hard and "given your all". you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. or the economy in general. Hurting the people you love will push them away. In Kübler-Ross's original model. especially for the people around you. this is likely to be more practical. or even a counselor. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. To cope with denial. then you're in Stage One. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. your boss. and make you feel worse. and that you have to live with them. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. your company. To cope. and even unjust or wrong things do happen. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. Talk with family and friends.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. This can be one of the most difficult stages.
So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. another one opens somewhere. forgive yourself. You can call it fate or destiny. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. You're grieving for your lost job. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. and move on. or train any new hires that come through the door. Put your energy into moving forward. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. Bargaining is almost always futile. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. if it was your fault. Or. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected.45 For instance. or reduced benefits. To cope with this stage." But. Remember. Helping others can be very healing. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. learn from the experience. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. "Whenever one door closes. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. be aware of what you're doing." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. your job right now is to find another job. You might offer to work part-time. . as someone else also said. you might slip into a state of depression. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock.
do something productive. if not impossible. you might skip some stages. Talk about your emotions. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. You're a talented. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. you've learned from it. then seek help so you can move forward. depression and acceptance. bargaining. and keep moving forward. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. It was very hard. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding.yet. incredible.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. or go through all five: everyone is different. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. despite your best effort. and you're stronger because of it. for them to reach . Again. Traditionally. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. Give yourself time to work through each stage. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . anger. or if it was your fault. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job.
Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. here are some steps to take. No matter how qualified or experienced. Today. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. If you do. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. And it's not always limited to gender or race. the glass ceiling is still very real. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing.47 upper management positions. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason." However. risk takers. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. want to break through that glass. you have a choice. indeed. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. . However. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see.
regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. then monitor and measure your performance. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. Start with the introduction to communication skills. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. Each of these is complex. For example. no matter what job title you have. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. If you achieve that goal.48 To further clarify these ideas. and attributes. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . Be proactive and go after what you want. set goals to get there. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. Communication skills will help you. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. because it probably won't be handed to you. skills. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. You're responsible for determining your own career direction.
Expand your professional network outside of your organization. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. to be effective and actually make it to the top. Read more about Professional Networking. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. biases and stereotypes. However. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top.49 provide you with valuable information. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. Past practices. Get involved with cross-functional teams. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth.
Know that you're doing everything right. technical knowledge. Speak up and contribute in meetings. That means proactively managing every . Build Your Reputation Ultimately. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. communication skills. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. you need to champion and market yourself. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. You want people to see your competence. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. while you can see up. Remember. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. To do this. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. watch for discriminatory behavior. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. Don't just accept frustration and failure. Visibility is very important. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation.50 and ideas on how to find one. leadership abilities. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. those at the top can see down. and develop plans to change them.
If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. or anyone in your organization. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. and. Apply some of the ideas in this article. Ask for support and assistance . Yet. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. hopefully. a mentor. and monitor your progress. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place.this is a sign of strength. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. your old boss is leaving. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants.51 step of your career. like it or not. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. and you may find new zones of opportunity. and potentially change the direction of your . a strong network. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. not weakness. So. but most people don't succeed all on their own. you might have to work harder than others. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. You probably didn't plan for it. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success.
It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. and you have to be supportive. But you also need to know how and when to act. and prove yourself. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. and even a different management style. in this case. This person needs your help. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). you're not facing reality.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. but doesn't. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. However. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. 2. is nothing. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. So. so the boss may look to you for help. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. as well as which problems to avoid. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. Things will likely be different. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. so expect to change the way you work. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. There's a proper balance that you can find. In many ways. However. a new boss will likely have different opinions. different policies. In this article. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. you are also new to your new boss. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. but doesn't know .
Your new boss knows what you do." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. On the other hand. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. . and sufficiently. considerately. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss. Tip: Be helpful.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. and you have to work with this new person. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. yourself). perhaps. Your goal is to educate tactfully. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. Even if your new boss knows what you do. If you do either of these. because she did your job before you got there. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it. However. but don't appear too eager.53 it. 3. (If you were competing for the job. But your new boss may have a more general management background. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. Offer your help. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations.
. and mutual availability as your guiding factors. individual preferences.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • . This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . Now What? covers this in detail.. but at least you'll know. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. but we've summarized some of the information here.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. Use common sense. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. For example. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. but also figuring out who the key players are.
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